Blog Archives

December 21, 2016 – January 3, 2017

LIBERACE’S BROTHER GEORGE AT SANTA’S VILLAGE. May 9, 1959.  Not a genuine holiday photo but neither was Santa’s Village very genuine. That’s Hocus Pocus passing as Santa. Hocus was a local magician and showman with one million friends.                                                    

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE December 19, 2016

How the world mocks Donald Trump

Donald Trump hates his satirical portrayal on Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately for him, the rest of the world is making the same jokes.

Posted by QZ on Friday, December 16, 2016

BUT FIRST….many happy holidays to all our readers. The year was almost as wild and nutty as we know the next four years will be. Your emails mean a lot and I try to answer every one of them. Stay in touch and let me know what’s happening…I’ll do the same. BB

GAS LEAF BLOWERS BANNED IN SONOMA, WHY NOT IN SANTA CRUZ? Here’s a clip from The Sonoma News December 1, 2016 by staff writer Christian Kallen. “The final results came early, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, almost a week ahead of the Dec. 6 deadline for the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters to release the official election totals. When all the votes were counted, Measure V to ban the use of gas-powered leaf blowers inside city limits won by a scant 19 votes.  

TEN BIZZARRE INSTRUMENTS. I don’t care much for the slick presenation but check out the instruments.
THE TITANIC TUBA…who would guess, who would make such a thing???

It decided, presumably once and for all, an issue that has been plaguing the City of Sonoma for years, at least since Darryl Ponicson put up an information table about leaf blowers at the Tuesday Farmers Market five years ago. Even a 3-2 vote to ban the blowers by the City Council in March wasn’t the final word, as a public signature drive to put the measure to a public vote lead to last month’s election. The ban goes into effect Dec. 22. “I hope this means that the people who voted for the measure, and those that voted against, will come to appreciate the restoration of the quality of life in Sonoma as time goes on,” said Cecilia Ponicsan, who with her husband had been at the forefront of the years-long effort to ban leaf blowers.

For outgoing Mayor Laurie Gallian, who said she got into politics because of the environment, the vote was a bittersweet victory. “The magic of this story is the involvement of the community members behind it. Sonoma CALM, they are the real winners,” she said. “I was only asked to bring the item back and campaign for it – campaigning for myself for re-election, and campaigning for Measure V. I’m glad one of us was victorious!”

But for the landscapers who are asked to make Sonoma properties look tidy, the vote will have a very specific impact – and it could mean that Sonoma itself might look a bit different, too.

“I think we will have to use rakes and brooms,” said Fernando Coronel, who has been doing landscape work in Sonoma for over a decade. “Probably we can use electric blowers just to clean the cement, that’s all we can do.” Coronel pointed out that some of the tasks he is asked to do now, like clean out gravel beds and bark groundcover won’t be as easy. “It’s very hard without blowers. We take the gravel or the bark when we rake the leaves.” We need to organize and let the Santa Cruz City Council know a majority of us care about our health and our environment.

PESTICIDE DANGERS. Luisa Calderon from Safe Agriculture – Safe Schools and Organizer for Californians for Pesticide Reform states…”A 1/4-mile is not enough to protect from pesticide drift and illness. To protect public health and make sure agricultural pesticide illness is truly reduced, Santa Cruz County and the entire state need full-time, full-mile buffer zones around schools”. That’s why the headline…” Santa Cruz County has second most agricultural pesticide illnesses in the state”. Lets see what our Santa Cruz County Board Of Supervisors does about this….sure, I’ll take all bets, and give them a full year to do anything at all.

PEDESTRIAN GOOD NEWS. Debbie Bulger sends this in… “Good News for Pedestrians!”

The City of Santa Cruz has received a $968,200 grant for pedestrian projects at intersections throughout the City. “Mission: Pedestrian” wrote a letter of support for this grant. Data shows 71% of pedestrian and bicycle crashes in the City of Santa Cruz are at intersections. This project will increase pedestrian safety at 15 unsignalized intersections throughout the city by marking crosswalks, building bulb outs, installing curb ramps, and installing rectangular rapid flashing beacons among other measures. Not all the intersections will receive the same treatment. The grant was awarded by the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP Cycle 8) a federal program administered by CalTrans. 

Intersections that will be made safer include eight along Soquel Avenue, two along Ocean Street, and King at Walnut among other locations. The following intersections along Soquel Avenue are also included: Caledonia, Pine, Pennsylvania, Doyle, Cayuga, Seabright, Marnell, and Mentel. The intersections along Ocean are at Leonard and Dakota.


(Repeat item)…

WARMTH, THE BANDThe Sentinel’s Wallace Baine ran a grand tribute to Don McCaslin who turns 90 this week in Monday’s Sentinel (12/12)   Wallace didn’t know any of the details behind McCaslin’s first gig with his historical jazz band “Warmth”. Here’s what I wrote in the Metro Weekly back in November 2001…. “DEMOCRAT POLITICS IN SANTA CRUZ 1972”. The photo above was taken early in the morning at the front door of the original Cooper House*. That’s Julian Camacho praying on the left; he was running for California State Senate. In the middle is Henry Faitz, a local attorney who ran for California State Assembly against Republican incumbent Frank Murphy. Next is Alan Cranston also praying , who ran for state controller. Right behind Cranston is old friend and near-legendary late jazz musician Phil Yost, who was there to play with Don McCaslin’s new group, premiering that day: Warmth. (Full disclosure: I ran Henry Faitz’s campaign against Murphy; we lost.)

(* PS. The Cooper House was NOT destroyed by the ’89 had been retrofitted and withstood the quake. It was torn down by its new owner to get the FEMA money).


The final city council meeting for 2016 under the leadership of Mayor Cynthia Mathews contained no surprises: an unnecessarily packed agenda; the important item placed last on the agenda; public comment whittled down to a minute each person due to lack of time; public comment ignored; developers handed a sweetheart deal. Ho hum.

The important item under consideration was major modifications sought for the development project at 2120 Delaware Street. This project was approved by city council in 2008. It stalled due to the recession and has seen little progress since the recovery.  The land is zoned light industrial/commercial and the council at the time carefully weighed the pros and cons of allowing any residential use to intrude into the very small percentage of land left available and zoned for light industrial/commercial use. Approval was based on the proposal to allow two thirds of the land to remain commercial/industrial with one third dedicated to live/work residential space; perfect for small start-ups and small home-based businesses. This combo of home and work in one living space, obviating the need for a car, or so the theory goes, was the selling point for the council.  A large billboard at the empty site proudly proclaimed, “If you worked here, you’d be home by now.” Those of us who spoke against the project at the time cautioned against losing any of our scarce remaining industrial land. A self-sustaining town needs more than housing. It also needs light industry. Imagine the loss to our town’s economic base if an early council had decided that Harvey West would be ideal for housing and had rezoned a third of that important industrial/ commercial area as residential?  Those of us who opposed the 2120 Delaware Street project also wondered aloud how long it would take before the developers came back for “modifications?” A round of modifications was sought and granted in 2014. The original conditions of approval disallowed sequencing so the residential did not precede the commercial and thereby create conflicts with new residents complaining about the impacts of the subsequently built commercial. Redtree Properties, the developers, wanted to modify that condition since they claimed, live/work housing was easier to sell and investors weren’t interested in commercial at that time. Council gave them their modification. Those of us who spoke against this change to the original conditions of approval wondered out loud how long it would take before Redtree was back for more modifications?

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~Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild).


Well, let me just begin this week with a proposal that I recently presented to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors regarding a conversation I had with State Assemblyman Mark Stone on this question.  When I asked Assemblyman Stone (he spoke to my daughter’s high school government class last month) about his thoughts on the two recent cases of law enforcement killing troubled young people in which one had only a garden rake and the other a pocket knife, he said that any changes in law enforcement procedures and trainings must come from the local community’s efforts.  That is why I spoke to the Board of Supervisors during Open Public Comment.

I pointed out the two cases of law enforcement quickly shooting to KILL the two troubled young men.  I pointed out that those rapid fatal actions are a result of training and “muscle memory” on the part of the officers.  When under stress, the human reaction is to respond in a way that is most familiar…”muscle memory” takes over.  I described to the Board an incident I remembered reading about a few years ago in the Santa Cruz Sentinel wherein a young man broke loose in the court room and attempted to flee.  An attorney present in the court room who had extensive Aikido training (a form of martial art), quickly maneuvered the young man to the floor, rendering him inactive but without harming him at all.  No guns were drawn.  No tasers were fired.  The situation was quickly under control without harm.  I remember reading this article to my children, who were studying Aikido at the time.

It is common knowledge that many of our law enforcement officers are freshly out of the military.  In the military, people are trained to shoot and kill.  They train extensively to respond with that action.  That creates their muscle memory.

I have read in local newspaper articles regarding the two recent killings that area law enforcement officers receive a few months of training before being put on active service duty.  I could not find any information to clarify that, but County sheriff deputy recruit requirements can be found at this link.

Can a person trained by the military for years to shoot and kill really lose all that muscle memory in a few months?  I don’t think so.  Neither did a couple of veterans that I asked about the issue.  They both said it took them eight to ten years to get out of the military muscle memory reactions, and that everyone is different in their recovery time.

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~Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes).


PATTON’S PROGRAM. From Gary’s Two Worlds website…Saturday, December 10, 2016

#345 / Away From The Battlefield

The United States’ Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) was featured in a day-after-Thanksgiving-Day story in The Washington PostThe Post’s story noted that JSOC is considered to be an “elite” part of our military establishment, a judgment enhanced, without a doubt, because JSOC was “the organization that helped kill Osama bin Laden…” . According to The Washington Post article, President Obama has now given JSOC “expanded power,” and JSOC has been authorized to “track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe.” 

Wikipedia reports that “JSOC has an operational relationship with the CIA’s Special Activities Division,” which is responsible for covert operations, and that this covert operations division within the CIA “often recruits from JSOC.”
The new authority given to Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) by President Obama will be available, and will undoubtedly be used, by our current President-elect, Donald Trump, once he takes office next January. The expanded authority just provided to JSOC will permit JSOC to operate “away from the battlefield.” Since there really isn’t any specific “battlefield,” in the “War Against Terror,” which has been authorized by two different Acts of Congress (see below), JSOC’s “Special Teams” will now be able to operate worldwide, pretty much on a “fire at will basis.”

The case of Hedges v. Obama provides some background that is worth thinking about. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), augments the Authorization For the Use of Military Force enacted by Congress in 2001 (AUMF). These two laws, combined, will now allow the military to operate within the United States (or anywhere else) and to detain anyone whom the President has determined has given “substantial support” to any forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”

Just to make things crystal  clear, a person detained by the military under these laws is considered to be an enemy combatant. Such a person will not be entitled to a jury trial, or a speedy trial, or to confront his or her accusers, or to have access to the Writ of Habeas Corpus, which allows persons in custody to demand that government authorities be made to prove, to an impartial court, that the government has a legally valid reason to keep them in custody.

This is just a “heads up.” “Away from the battlefield” means right here!

Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney who represents indivuduals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, Two Worlds at


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. What the Dicken’s??? it’s UCSC and Christmas time. See below.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s “Driving blind” down a few pages. As always, at you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa didn’t send anything this week. But I’ll bet she loved “La La Land”. Check out her Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.   

LA LA LAND. It all depends on how much you remember the glorious and very bright and brilliant days of the Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Betty Grable, even Barbara Striesand, Judy Garland, and especially Ginger Rogers musicals. La La Land works very hard to convince us that the world hasn’t changed since those days and tries earnestly to recreate the innocence, and obvious genius of those performers. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone make La La Land fun and happy to a degree, but it’s not the same. The music and songs aren’t anywhere near as good and the photography of today’s LA doesn’t add much either, besides that Stone and Gosling are not professional dancers or singers like all of above.  It’s like having Eddie Redmayne play Tarzan.

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY.  We can only guess that now that the Star Wars movie property is Walt Disney Property it would change, but not like this latest mess. Instead of being more cute, cuddly and cartoonish (like traditional Disney films)…Rogue One is darker, colder, meaner and full of war and killing. It has none of the charm, humor, humanity, mystery, history, tradition or fun quirkieness that the original Star Wars films brought us. The plot is tripe stuff about stealing Death Star plans. Darth Vader is back and James Earl Jones voice is too, but he looks thinner and smaller. The biggest fault for me is that it was filmed so dark it’s hard to see details, or look anywhere besides center screen. No great intricate space ships stay in view long enough to enjoy the fantasy. The acting is ok but there’s not much screen time for it to happen. Big dissapointment.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. Casey Affleck single handidly sustains this deep, emotional film. It’s on the way to several awards and should win them all. It’s an intelligent, beautifically acted in depth portrait of people going through trauma and relationships. Along with Affleck there’s Michelle Williams, Gretchen Mol, even Mathew Broderick in a bit part and especially the 16 year old Lucas Hedges. It’s a cold and unrelenting film that demands your attention especially since you’ve gone through tradegies too. I’m going again, ther;s just so much to watch and think about.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon and Laura Linney are simply perfect in their lead roles in this intelligent, puzzling, tense thriller. It wowed them at the Cannes Film Fest and it’s an impressive job of film making by director Tom Ford who knows what he’s doing. Jake and Amy are divorced, he writes a book based on their relationship that’s only half true. Plenty of violence, suspense, and a plot that will keep you 100% involved…that’s rare nowadays. Go see it…ends this Thursday 12/22.

THE EAGLE HUNTRESS. Charming, cute, girl-empowering and all for the sake of tradition and making this very staged “documentary”. Male Mongolian tribes folk trained eagles to kill foxes in the old days probably because they needed the furs and meat. Now that everybody lives in houses, eats in cafeterias, and wears spin off clothing from Target, L.L. Bean, via China why still kill foxes?? But this cute 13 year old girl defies tradition with 100% help from staged camera work and a devoted dad…she too kills a fox. Besides the making of this film it also helps the tourist trade who visit the Mongol Mountains every year to watch the Eagle Hunt with vans, television, and lots of posters in English pushing the event.

ALLIED. Gee, I thought that Brad Pitt was leaving Angelina Jolie because he fell in love with Marion Cotillard his co-star in this 1942 Casablanca war and spy semi-thriller. Other than that,  not many thrills or mystery or surprises…it’s mostly just a pretty WWII Casablanca wanna- be Hollywood movie. After I found out that Brad and Angelina are really splitting up  there was no way to remember anything else about this movie. 😉

ARRIVAL. Amy Adams has always been an excellent actor and she’s even better in this pretty sophisticated science fiction spellbinder. 11 alien speceships hover around earth just a few feet above ground while Amy and Jeremy Renner attempt to communicate with them. It’s a thoughtful film and it’ll make you wonder just how would anybody relate to aliens (and vice versa) Like the Trump victory the world is in a state of shock over these visitors. No killings, violence or cheap cliches…a fine film. I forgot to add that like so many Special effects films nowadays it is photographed in a very dark style. (Saves money I guess)

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM. The first Harry Potter spinoff from J.K. Rowling, and it’s only the first of four more Beast movies planned!! Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell are the only actors we know of. In this very dark, depressing, beast filled mistake. Set in New York City in 1926 it lacks any semblence of the charm, magic, character or even cuteness of Harry Potter’s world of Hogwarts and vicinity. Special effects produced beast like snakes, octopii, Dragons, Hydras, and more than 85 different types according to Rowland’s book. Redmayne and Farrell aren’t given a chance to be likable or empathetic. You probably catch my drift…don’t go.

OFFICE CHRISTMAS  PARTY. This gross, sexist, not-funny attempt at comedy should be banned from the industry except that it’ll make millions from the morons who like this genitalia- filled flick. It’s a perfect example of how low Hollywood will sink to make millions. Do NOT take the kids or allow them to even peek at this mess. I went because I couldn’t believe the bad reviews!!!



UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. On December 20, author Lois Watson talks about her popular book, “Growing Up In Santa Cruz.” UCSC retiree Lincoln Taiz and Lee Taiz follow Lois and tell us about their new book, “Flora Unveiled” (plant sex).  I’ll be on vacation Dec. 27 and Sylvanna Falcon from UCSC’s Latin American and Latino Studies will interview UCSC Sociology professor Hillary Angelo. Starting the New Year properly on Jan. 3 Patricia Rain will be my guest telling us all about Vanilla. Then newly elected Santa Cruz City Council members Chris Krohn and Sandy Brown will give us previews of the future City Council issues. Dr. Rachel Abrams guests on Jan. 10 talking about her new Rodale Book, “Body Wise”. It is about our “Body’s Intelligence” and health & healing. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome, so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always (and only) at    

The middle one isn’t super exciting; it’s a bit silly, but the other ones (and these things in general) just make me want to sweep everything off my kitchen table and find a glue gun or two.

NEW UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVE FEATURE. Stuff changes at KZSC a lot. If you missed either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens.

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 9 years here’s a chronological list of some past broadcasts.  Such a wide range of folks such as  Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011.


“I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays,” Henny Youngman
“I felt overstuffed and dull and disappointed, the way I always do the day after Christmas, as if whatever it was the pine boughs and the candles and the silver and gilt-ribboned presents and the birch-log fires and the Christmas turkey and the carols at the piano promised….. never came to pass.” Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
“I think holidays create so much pressure because people feel they should be having a good time. But you shouldn’t. ” Craig Ferguson
“Nothing says holidays, like a cheese log”, Ellen DeGeneres

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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | Comments Off on December 21, 2016 – January 3, 2017

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